The Secret Ingredient to Growth Could Be Hiding in Your Pantry

We have an old house. Like, really old—145 years old, in fact. There’s an old staircase that is actually boarded up and goes nowhere. A little creepy, but it makes a great pantry. I wallpapered the walls, painted the steps, and installed some additional shelves. It’s perfect, even if it does get messier than it should sometimes. (I really wish that I had someone else to blame. I don’t. It’s all me.)

So, my pantry—the one that has some very systematic organizational areas and then some outdated pudding mixes that I am at a loss as to why I ever bought it—what does this have to do with personal or business growth? Pretty much everything, actually.  

Whenever I am going through a growth stage in my personal life or in my business, it’s very much like cleaning out my pantry. I really dig in because things have gotten a bit too cluttered and less efficient. I need to come up with a few new systems to make my life as easy and effective as possible.  

I start by pulling everything out and throwing away any old, expired items. (Seriously, how have I not run across this box of 4-year-old pudding mix? It’s just collecting dust and taking up pantry space; it’s got to go.)

Next, I come up with some bright idea for this reorganization process that may include a trip to the hardware store. Sometimes I just make it work with what I have.

Then, I stop mid-way, look at everything scattered all over my kitchen—both sorted and not-so-sorted—and I start to get overwhelmed. I hate this process. I love when things are neat and organized, lined up, and easy to grab when I bake. I’m just not gifted in putting the details back together. I may take a minute to make a phone call, a cup of tea, or something else to waste time, refocus, or whatever you want to call it. And as much as I hate it at the moment, I know that the feeling of distraction and the never-ending mess will pass if I persevere and focus on the finished product: a clean pantry.  

So many people are experiencing the same scenario—working toward a vision and having big plans that sometimes feel a little overwhelming.

They want change; rather, they need it. Time to let go of outdated habits, old systems, and whatever dust is clouding the mindset. They start to unpack the mess in their brains in order to strategize their goals. Then, there it is, all laid out and only somewhat sorted in a way that makes sense. Then that overwhelmed feelings starts to set in.

It’s a mess and it’s hard to see how this new way of thinking—these pieces and plans and a new structure of your time—are all going to fall into place and actually make life neater and more efficient. Every move you make actually seems like it takes more time and effort than before you started moving things around. Mostly because it’s just really hard to see sometimes when you are standing in the mess. Really hard. Who knew that it would get so messy before it got better?

We all have plans that force us to pull things out and look at what we can do differently. It can get hard when it’s all laid out and we have to decide what’s worth keeping and what needs to be thrown out. I mean, even if it wasn’t expired, I really don’t need pudding...ever. What else do I have in my life that’s unnecessary yet taking up space or my time? Have you asked yourself this question lately?

So, what do you do next? You decide to put things back together. Some of the items go in a different place. A few items aren’t actually useless but are of no use to you, so you give those things away to someone who can really use them. Waste goes in the trash. A few new things are implemented to make things more efficient. Then, you sigh with satisfaction knowing that this was hard and yet you soldiered on in order to make your life easier so you can tackle something bigger.  

If you’re me, you’ll sigh again knowing that this is not the last time you will have to go through a change, a purge, and a time of implementation to continue growing. But if you ask me, it’s always worth the mess.

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